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Master programmes for health services of the future

The study programmes will educate future health professionals with the necessary skills to meet future needs. The faculty has met employers and listened to what they want.

Enthusiastic papers in the seminar on how the studies can fill the needs of future health care. Top left: Kristin Heggen and Nina Vøllestad introduce. Top centre: Tiril Seppola Reed, student representative. Top right: Ingrid Middelthon, HOD. Centre: Grethe Solvang (OUS). Centre right: Torunn Wibe, Nursing Home Services. Bottom right: Gro Tangen, National Resource Centre for Aging and Health. Photo: Kristin Ellefsen,UiO Collage: Silje Kile Rosseland, UiO

Study Dean Kristin Heggen and Head of Department Nina K. Vøllestad wish representatives of future employers welcome to the seminar on Wednesday 17 January. The purpose of the seminar was to gain input on the skills that are needed out in the workplace.

The Department for Health and Society manages seven masters programmes as of today, and these are divided into three types:

  1. Research-/professional developmental: International Community Health, Interdisiplinær helseforskning and Sykepleievitenskap
  2. Experience-based: Helseadministrasjon and Avansert geriatrisk sykepleie
  3. Vocational: European Master in Health Economics and management and Health Economics, Policy and Management

It is primarily within the research-/professional developmental studies that the need is seen for more significant changes. Nina K. Vøllestad initially outlined the following key words as a basis for discussion at the seminar:

  1. User involvement, interaction and team
  2. Health technology development – eHealth and digitizing
  3. Society and services in change
  4. Globalization and sustainability goals
  5. Prioritization needs
  6. Continuous learning
  7. Knowledge in use

Interaction and continual development

Ingrid Middelton (Health Directorate) stressed the Government’s and the Parliament’s focus on interaction in her paper at the seminar. The Ministry of Education and Research and the Ministry of Health and Care Services work closely together. Their measures are at the overall level through e.g. reports to the parliament, regulations, and overall guidelines. 

The signals from the Ministry are clear that educational institutions must have a dialogue with employers. The educational institutions are expected to pay attention and think ahead. By continuous dialogue and interaction in the sector, the studies can be developed on the way. This is how to make sure to respond to society’s needs for skills. The cooperation in the sector must be documented and marketed.

Middelton also stressed the importance of competence in substance abuse and violence, which is the only specifically- defined field of expertise that is emphasized.

What do the employers want?

The suggestions from the employers were quite unison. It was pointed out that the ability to be able to work well in multidisciplinary teams is becoming more and more important:

"It may sound trite, but being able to work well as a team is incredibly important in practice," said Grethe Solvang (OUS) in her speech. – hospital wards and outpatient departments are changing. This puts greater demands on the skills of the team. 

At Solvang’s department, they have taken steps to provide the employees with career opportunities. At present, they have four master courses in advanced geriatric nursing at the department. This has led to reduced "turnover". They evaluate quality by looking at user satisfaction and cost efficiency.

The staff in a team has different strategies and professional perspectives. By carrying out projects in the master courses, students gain specific experience by participating in a larger research project. This is useful for their future employers.

Many people emphasized that students should carry out relevant projects during their study period. It is advantageous that students should be given the opportunity to bring this competence to the workplace after completion of their studies.

There is a lack of academic grounding in the primary health service. By achieving closer interaction between UiO and the primary health services, students ' projects can also be more relevant here.

One idea that came up during the discussions was that it would have been really helpful if one could put in place a marketplace for relevant master projects. 

Increased focus on the issues associated with digitization was also a repeating theme which had already been launched initially by Nina K. Vøllestad.

What do the students want?

Former MSU leader and bachelor student at Helseledelse og helseøkonomi (Health Management and Health Economics), Tiril Seppola Reed, represented the students with an enthusiastic speech at the seminar. She wants a future-oriented and living study. The education should be research-related with room for innovation and provide students with useful tools they can use in the future. 

Reed envisages that the ideal study programmes should have good interdisciplinary basic subjects. In addition, it should also be possible to specialise in some fields and subjects that can be developed continuously and underway in the course of study, instead of all changes taking place at five- or ten year revisions.

The way ahead

Increased interaction with the sector is the way to go. The MED faculty will convene more such meetings in the future. The working groups that work with revision of the studies at the Department of Health and Society will take with them the input from the seminar in the work of revising the education offered.

    By Silje M. Kile Rosseland
    Published Jan. 26, 2018 2:41 PM - Last modified Feb. 5, 2018 3:53 PM